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Friday, 14th September 2012
In Japan Sports News,

Debut clash for Japan and Israel at Davis Cup

Japan will battle it out against Israel for the first time at the Davis Cup, with play kicking off today (September 14th).

This marks the second consecutive year that Japan has entered the World Group play-offs, with their top ranked player Kei Nishikori among the troop.

Nishikori is currently ranked 16 by the ATP - marking a career high and the best a Japanese player has ever performed on the scale.

For the 2012 Grand Slam year, he managed to make it into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, missed out on the competition at Roland Garros, but went on to advance to the third rounds of both Wimbledon and the US open.

It hasn't been a year of success for the tennis star, however, as he has also suffered injuries to his stomach muscles.

Japan secured a place in the World Group after beating India last September at the Ariake Colosseum - where the battle against Israel is taking place.

However, disappointment ensued when the side lost 3-2 to Croatia on home soil at Hyogo prefecture in February.

Nishikori stressed the importance of overcoming the loss to progress further in the competition.

"That was a tough match. We lost 3-2 at home. Now we have to face a team with veteran players like Dudi and Amir," he said.

Fellow teammate Go Soeda remained modest about his scheduled onslaught against Amir Weintraub on Sunday.

"His backhand slice is very effective. He has a variety of shots that he can control well," he said.

However, he was also optimistic that the five-set match will give him "a chance" of victory considering it is the first time they have come head-to-head in a longer game.

Japan's best Davis Cup performance to date was back in 1921 when they were runners up.

Posted by Susan Ballion